14.02.2020

Indian dailies have observed that the decision to hold Hafiz Saeed guilty of financing terror came just days before a crucial meeting of global terror watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris. Newspapers have said that President Trump’s India visit will bring into focus the many opportunities the two countries need to seize. Papers have also commented on the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Global CO2 emissions report.

THE ASIAN AGE in an editorial HAFIZ: TOKEN STEP BY PAK? Writes in October last year, the Paris-based international anti-terrorism watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) didn’t blackball Pakistan altogether on the terrorism question, placing Islamabad on its “grey” list for a period of four months. This was leniency being shown since FATF is currently being chaired by China, Pakistan’s best friend. The grey list categorisation meant that the so-called improvement in Islamabad’s attitude on terrorism was being noted, but clearly it was far from enough. The improvement essentially lay in the Pakistan government taking over scores of seminaries that preach the terrorism gospel. FATF called for further action to show Pakistan’s commitment to deal with terror funding and money-laundering for terrorist purposes. With the four-month grace period ending soon, an anti-terror court in Lahore on Wednesday sentenced Hafiz Saeed, founder-chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the mother outfit of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, and an associate to 11 years of rigorous imprisonment on two counts of terror funding and money-laundering, indicating that it was observing the letter of FATF’s instructions. Whether the rigorous imprisonment aspect is observed seriously is moot, considering it is Pakistan, although Saeed has been declared a “global terrorist” by the UN and the US.

THE INDIAN EXPRESS in an editorial BEYOND THE OPTICS says the India-US relationship is larger than the immediate personal interests of both Trump and Modi. There are two important issues in play during Trump’s visit to India — trade and security. The trade relationship has been under high stress ever since Trump came into office in January 2017; Delhi was slow in reading his deeply held opposition to “free trade” and has struggled to construct a new framework for commercial ties. At the bottom of it is Delhi’s lack of a strategy to deal with the upheaval in the global trading order triggered by Trump. In contrast to trade, there has been a growing convergence of interests on securing the Indo-Pacific. Although India’s arms purchases from the US continue to draw headlines it is the deepening engagement — ranging from military intelligence sharing to inter-operability of forces — between the two defence establishments that may be of long-term political consequence for the balance of power in Asia and its waters. The shared interests in the Indo-Pacific, however, have not necessarily translated into the Greater Middle East — especially in the Af-Pak region and the Gulf.

THE FINANCIAL EXPRESS in an editorial MERE PAUSE, NO PEAK opines finally, there has been some action on the climate-crisis front by developed nations, most of which are the worst emission offenders. Expansion of wind, solar and other sustainable power generation capacity such as nuclear in developed nations, the International Energy Association (IEA) says, has helped energy-related CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions “flatline” in 2019, at 33 gigatonnes. Global emissions had risen in both 2017 and 2018 after having remained constant since 2014. However, the 2019 emissions may prove no peak—the 2017 and 2018 emissions proved that the 2014-2016 period was a mere pause—given many Asian countries seem set to take over from advanced countries on emissions ignominy. While power sector emissions in advanced countries have fallen to “levels last seen in the 1980s”—the US has recorded the sharpest decline, of 140 million tonnes—this fall was offset by the 400-million-tonne rise in the rest of the world. Asian countries, where coal generation is rising, accounted for nearly 320 million tonnes of this. The 2019 ‘flatlining’ could seem cause for cheer, but it hardly reflects the wide, and deep, action on climate change that is needed.

Script: PADAM SINGH, AIR: News Analyst